When you are in the market to purchase a compressor for household applications, it is very important to consider the tank style among other specifications, as this feature decides if the compressor will be lightweight, portable, and inexpensive. Pancake design and hotdog design compressors both have a tank style suitable for household applications. However, pancake air compressors take the upper hand for a variety of reasons.
First off, the pancake style of compressors makes them inherently lightweight and portable, with a tank size between 1- 6 gallons. Since they have an oil-free pump and no belts, pancake compressors require no maintenance. On the other hand, hotdog compressors are slightly heavier, noisier and pricier than pancake compressors.
So let’s look at the top-notch pancake air compressors in the market to make the choice easier for you.
|Our Top Picks|
Best Mini Compressor
Read our review
| Porter-Cable PCFP02003||Read our review|
My Favorite Choice
Read our review
| Porter-Cable C2002||Read our review|
Read our review
| Bostitch BTFP02012||Read our review|
Read our review
| DeWalt DWFP55126||Read our review|
Touted as a real workhorse by users, the Porter-Cable PCFP02003 is an efficient and robust compressor that delivers smooth operation but is still powerful enough for commercial use. Its applications include powering pneumatic tools to inflating tires on vehicles, trailers, bikes, and scooters, and blowing off dust. It is equipped with a hard-wearing oil-free pump for long life and easy maintenance.
The low amp 120V motor at the heart of Porter-Cable PCFP02003 ensures that the unit starts easily even in cold weather. The factory installed quick coupler installed in the unit ensures quick access to regulated air. Its 3.5-gallon tank has a swift recovery time with a maximum pressure of 135 PSI, which further enhances the capability of this unit. The compressor works at 2.0 SCFM – 90 PSI.
Weighing just 26 pounds, the Porter-Cable PCFP02003 is light and very portable. The noise level at 84dB is not whisper quiet but not obnoxiously loud either. Some users have also commented that it vibrates a little, but its favorable reviews are much more in number.
This model sounds like an upgrade from its brother reviewed above. Although it comes equipped with the same low-amp 120V motor that starts easily in lower temperatures, the pancake Porter-Cable C2002 has almost double the tank size of 6-gallon with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. A larger capacity tank means that the unit will weigh more, but at 34 pounds, it remains highly portable. In fact it also has a convenient handle for transportation which the aforementioned model lacks.
The oil-free pump delivers air pressure of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and 3.7 SCFM at 40 PSI, making it ideal for applications ranging from firing nailers to filling tires, and inflating air mattresses to installing trim. The induction motor provides long life and improved performance. There’s a high-flow air regulator which allows more work at a higher pressure and offers the flexibility to take on an array of jobs.
The Porter-Cable C2002 includes rubber feet that protect wood surfaces from getting scratched or marred. A unique addition to this unit are regulated factory-installed air couplers which support two users at once.
The Bostitch BTFP02011 ticks all the boxes for someone in the market for an oil-free, light to medium-duty use air compressor. Being oil-free means that the compressor requires minimal maintenance and has a longer service life.
This bright yellow pancake compressor has a 6-gallon tank with a short recovery time of 25 seconds, so you’ll be subjected to less noise. Talking about noise, the compressor is rated at 80 dB, so it is suitable for use in a garage or small shop.
The pump delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, and has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. This enables the Bostitch BTFP02011 to run for a long time to power tools like air spray guns, brad and finish nailers, pinners, light duty staplers and framing nailer.
With a narrow tank of 14″, the Bostitch BTFP02011 weighs only 33 pounds so it wouldn’t be heavier than a toolbox. A well-built large handle on top makes it easy to transport the compressor. Its large dials make for easy reading, and it is equipped with the Bostitch high flow regulator and couplers which maximize air tool performance.
The electric compressor has high performance ratings and for all the right reasons. The 6-gallon pancake air compressor has a maximum pressure of 165 PSI with quick recovery time, which means it can accommodate more air in the tank. Hence, it can easily support 2 users at a time via the 2 universal couplers. It is also features a high flow regulator to provide maximum performance.
The oil-free pump of DeWalt DWFP55126 delivers 2.6 SCFM at pressure of 90 PSI, and 3.7 SCFM at 40 PSI. It is powered by a standard 120V power source. The high efficiency motor easily starts up in cold weather or an extension cord of maximum 50 ft with 14 gauge (AWG) can be used. A thermal overload protector keeps the unit from overheating, and the unit also has a fan for forced air circulation.
At 30 pounds, the unit is highly portable which is further aided by a large, convenient handle, while the floor is guarded against marring by protective rubber leg covers. At 75.5dB the noise level falls in the acceptable range.
Some users say that the unit is not powerful enough to power professional tools, but then it is engineered for household use.
Since all the reviewed pancake compressors are well below $300, you can get a robust, reliable, and powerful unit without breaking the bank. They all have remarkable specifications and outclass customer reviews which indicate that these workhorses are worth every penny and get the job done. You don’t have to worry about their maintenance, you can carry them around easily, and they won’t wake up the entire street – what more can you ask for?